[Orthodoxy] Papal Authority

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  • #5079
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Ted,

    I said I was not going to post on this issue any more (and I won’t as it leads to too much strife) but I could not let your lengthy and wonderful reply go without saying well done. If only I were capable of holding in my temper a bit better I’m sure my replies would be more effective too.

    And if only you could write as convincingly and well with fewer words! <img loading=” title=”Very Happy” />
    I joke. Keep up the wonderful posts even if they are a little long.

    James

    #5080
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:2omx1mr3]Vic, you talk to me, quite rightly of prefigurations in the Old Testament, that are leading us to the New Testament. I agree with you, and Orthodox Christians believe that there is great prefiguring in the Old Testament indeed that the Old Testament cannot be adequately understood without the New Testament. You tell me that St. Peter, “being the strongest” was prefigured in Isaiah 22, “the keys of the house of David”. Well, we know that the keeper of the key of David, prefigured in Isaiah 22 is Christ Himself (Apocalypse 3:7). In Isaiah 22:22 it is a messianic reference to someone who may judge in God’s name and admit or exclude from the City of David. In fulfillment, this is a prophecy of Christ the Lord. The Lord is clearly referring to Himself as keeper of the key. It’s unfortunate that Roman Catholics feel that Orthodox in denying this, try to minimize St. Peter. St. Peter, together with St. Paul, is called PROTOCORYFAIOS in our Church, that is PRE-EMINENT. We laud and herald the blessed St. Peter. It’s funny that Roman Catholics think that just because we don’t believe all the extras that they have tacked on to the blessed saint, that we seek to minimize him. [/quote:2omx1mr3]

    In the Old Testament a steward, or prime minister is a man who is “over a house” (Gen 41:40; 43:19; 44:4; 1 Ki 4:6; 16:9; 18:3; 2 Ki 10:5; 15:5; 18:18; Is 22:15,20-21). Apocalypse 3:7 is speaking of David being an analogy of Christ cause he owns the house and owns the keys. David let the keeper carry the keys because he gave him the authority to open and close (bind and loose). If your interpretation is correct is would seem to be interpreted as God giving himself authority. Is this how you meant it? How can Christ be owner of the home and keys and still be the keeper when he steps out of the house? I do not see how you interpreted that Ted. The keeper is clearly speaking of someone that is given authority over the household.
    All the extras? I’m trying to understand Ted. If you equate doctrinal development as extras then I can at least have a point of reference on what to clarify and discuss with you.
    What prefigurations does the Orthodox Church see about Peters role in the OT? By the way, does the Orthodox Church believe in some form of doctional developement? Am I incorrect in noting that there has been NO development in the Orthodox Church for the last 1,000 years?

    BTW, I was snooping around in the library and wanted to get your thoughts on something. I scanned this off a book called [u:2omx1mr3]The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church (edited by JohnMeyendorff)[/u:2omx1mr3]:

    The Primacy of the Roman See is a well-established fact of Church history that was even attested to by Orthodox scholars Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff and Fr. Alexander Schmemann. They did not concede everything on the matter that the Catholic Church claims of course. However, it is important to notice how what they do say is perfectly consistent with the development of doctrine paradigm. This is concerning the Catholic doctrine of primacy of the Roman See as well as Rome being the final court of appeal in the early Church. In discussing the topic of St. Peter’s Primacy, we will start with Fr. Nicholas Afanassieff. Fr Afanassieff was a professor of canon law and church history at the Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. The quotations from him and Fr. Alexander Schmemann were taken from an Orthodox source titled The Primacy of Peter: Essays in Ecclesiology and the Early Church (edited by JohnMeyendorff):

    [i:2omx1mr3]As we study the problem of primacy in general, and especially the primacy of Rome, we must not be ruled by polemical motives: the problem is to be solved to satisfy ourselves and Orthodox theology. The solution of the problem is urgent, since [b:2omx1mr3]Orthodox theology has not yet built up any systematic doctrine on Church government.[/b:2omx1mr3] And although we have a doctrine concerning Ecumenical Councils as organs of government in the Church, we shall see presently that [b:2omx1mr3]our doctrine is not enough to refute the Catholic doctrine of primacy…[/i:2omx1mr3][/b:2omx1mr3]

    [i:2omx1mr3]The epistle is couched in very measured terms, in the form of an exhortation; but at the same time it clearly shows that the Church of Rome was aware of the decisive weight, in the Church of Corinth’s eyes, that must attach to its witness about the events in Corinth. [b:2omx1mr3]So the Church of Rome, at the end of the first century, exhibits a marked sense of its own priority, in point of witness about events in other churches.[/b:2omx1mr3] Note also that the Roman Church did not feel obliged to make a case, however argued, to justify its authoritative pronouncements on what we should now call the internal concerns of other churches… Apparently Rome had no doubt that its priority would be accepted without argument. [/i:2omx1mr3]

    Is this accurate?

    Peace

    ~Victor

    #5088
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Vic and Iacob,
    Thank you both for your replies, and again, sorry for yet another mammoth reply. I’ll try to work on that. My problem is that in any given subject, there is so much that I want to say that I just can’t filter out much. Vic, I’ll reply soon.

    I hope everyone’s keeping cool during these hot days.
    The least in Christ,
    Ted

    #5132
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [b:tuvxzb1o][u:tuvxzb1o]About Papal Claims[/u:tuvxzb1o][/b:tuvxzb1o]

    What follows is text I had originally posted in response to a user on another forum. Unfortunately, I think I started making a little too much sense, and so the entire thread was simply outright deleted by the Roman Catholic moderator there (on the specific grounds that I was being offensive for calling Roman Catholics “Latins”, and for the post being too long…whether it is or is not too long, I’ll let you decide; though I’m unsure how else such an important topic could be tackled, without some depth.) Frankly, I think this was downright sophistic and dishonest.



    [i:tuvxzb1o]([b:tuvxzb1o]NOTE:[/b:tuvxzb1o] all text placed in “quote” captions, was from the user I was replying to)[/i:tuvxzb1o]

    [color=DarkSlateGray:tuvxzb1o][i:tuvxzb1o]In a posting made here[/url:tuvxzb1o], a user of this forum discusses his decision to become a Roman Catholic, but solicits an Orthodox Christian view on the topic of St.Peter and the Pope. What follows is my humble attempt at providing such.[/i:tuvxzb1o][/color:tuvxzb1o]

    [quote:tuvxzb1o]Christ gave St. Peter the keys to the kingdom and all that.[/quote:tuvxzb1o]

    Yes, according to St.Matthew chapter 16. Yet, according to St.Matthew 18:18, this same authority was also extended to the other Apostles. IOW, while it is first promised to St.Peter, it was not limited to him.

    Thus, typologically St.Peter is “the first”, [b:tuvxzb1o]not[/b:tuvxzb1o] “the unique”.

    [quote:tuvxzb1o]Peter went to Rome and since then there has been a long line of legitimate successors.[/quote:tuvxzb1o]

    I have a problem with this not only as an Orthodox believer, but also had a problems with the logic behind this before I ever set foot in an Orthodox Church.

    Yes, St.Peter was “the first” – the first to receive the promise of being able to release and retain sins (which all of the other Apostles were later promised, shortly thereafter, and which they all received together according to St.John chapter 20, after the Ressurection). He received this honour of being “first”, because he was the first to confess the divinity of Christ (though it’s not quite clear how deeply understood the words he uttered at the time he said them and what they implied; according to the Lord, this confession was uttered not out of his own virtues or cleverness, but was a revelation of grace).

    Alas, we are also told “upon this rock I will build my Church”. According to the majority of Fathers who comment on this passage, it’s [i:tuvxzb1o]fundamental[/i:tuvxzb1o] meaning is that St.Peter’s [i:tuvxzb1o]confession of faith[/i:tuvxzb1o] in Christ the God-Man is the foundation of the Church. There are a minority of commentators who do identify the “rock of faith” with St.Peter here; and this is understandable, given that the name Petros (Greek; though in Aramaic it would have been “Kepha”) means “rock”. However, what most who cite such patristic commentators utterly fail to recognize, is that those Fathers who do interpret the passage this way, do so in a [i:tuvxzb1o]derivative[/i:tuvxzb1o] sense, without undermining the interpretation provided by the majority of patristic witnesses. Why? Because, St.Peter’s “firstness” amongst his brethren (first, not unique!), is derivative of his confession; St.Peter’s significance stands or falls, on the basis of his Orthodox confession of faith. This further makes sense, because if we want to be real sticklers, it is ultimatly not faith unto itself, but [b:tuvxzb1o]Christ Himself[/b:tuvxzb1o] Who is the “foundation” and “rock” of the Church, as we are told in many passages…

    [i:tuvxzb1o]For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which [b:tuvxzb1o]is[/b:tuvxzb1o] Jesus Christ.[/i:tuvxzb1o] (1st Corinthians 3:11)

    [i:tuvxzb1o]For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.[/i:tuvxzb1o] (1st Corinthians 10:4)

    [i:tuvxzb1o]The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. [b:tuvxzb1o]…[/b:tuvxzb1o]For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?[/i:tuvxzb1o] (Psalm 18:2,31)

    In other words, St.Peter’s being a “rock” and “foundation” for the Church is derivative – derivative of his confession, which itself points to and rests upon our Lord God & Saviour Jesus Christ. This itself is indicated in the original Greek of St.Matthew 16, where a difference is made between the rock of his faith (“petra” – rock) and his new namesake (“petros” – a stone). And who would deny that any significance St.Peter had was derived from his relationship to Christ and the true faith – unless one wants to pervert Christianity into some kind of weird “St.Peter centered” religion!

    And once again, even recognizing that St.Peter is “foundational” for the Church, we also notice yet again [b:tuvxzb1o]he is not [i:tuvxzb1o]unique[/i:tuvxzb1o] in this regard[/b:tuvxzb1o] – for the Scriptures plainly state that the other Holy Apostles (and even the Holy Prophets) are [i:tuvxzb1o]also[/i:tuvxzb1o] foundational in this regard!

    19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
    20 [b:tuvxzb1o]built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets[/b:tuvxzb1o], Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
    21 in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord;
    22 in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

    Indeed, we read in [i:tuvxzb1o]the Apocalypse[/i:tuvxzb1o], that the Holy Apostles are still (and always will be) the foundation of the Church in a special and exalted way – we read this symbolically in the following passage speaking about the “Heavenly City”…

    9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, [b:tuvxzb1o]”Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.”[/b:tuvxzb1o]
    10 And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
    11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
    12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed;
    13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.
    14 [b:tuvxzb1o]And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.[/b:tuvxzb1o] (Apocalypse of St.John, 21:9-14)

    What I particulaly don’t understand though, is the “logic” which connects things said of St.Peter [i:tuvxzb1o]solely[/i:tuvxzb1o] and [i:tuvxzb1o]only[/i:tuvxzb1o] with the Bishops of Rome. This is one area which is not only is not illustrated satisfactorily by Roman Catholic apologists, but is often totally overlooked by those poor souls who take such apologists’ works as gospel – they see a mountain of Patristic references speaking highly of St.Peter, and along with said apologists, simply apply this to the Pope. But there is no reasonable basis for this, not in the least.

    a) St.Peter was likely not the “first Bishop of Rome”, as it appears that honour came when he and St.Paul (who is often left out of these discussions, unfairly, since he had at least as much of a role, if not more so, in forming the early Roman Church) appointed a Bishop for the city. They were Apostles afterall, and while they may reside in this or that place, had a God-given authority and mission which spanned the whole world (unlike a Bishop, whoever he may be.)

    b) Even if St.Peter were the first Bishop of Rome (which not all of the Fathers agree on, particularly the earlier ones to speak of the traditions about St.Peter’s stay and martyrdom in Rome), where does it follow that some unique dynastic Chrism resides in Rome? People talk of a “dynasty” – what dynasty?! That would imply an order of Priesthood higher than the Episcopate (Bishop) – yet such does not exist, even according to Roman Catholic doctrine. If by “dynasty” one simply means that their episcopal ordination can trace itself back in a chain to a Bishop consecrated by St.Peter, then this can apply to any number of Bishops throughout the world, not simply those residing in Rome – and indeed, strictly speaking those residents of Rome (a man who is elected Pope) may not even have an episcopal ordination which goes back to St.Peter, if he were already made a Bishop of some other city prior to his being elected Pope! Thus, the claim of a “Petrine dynasty” becomes doubly meaningless as opposed to a “Johanine”, “Jacobite” or “Pauline” dynasty. Indeed, St.Paul himself strongly teaches against such distinctions in 1st Corinthians…

    12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apol’los,” or “I belong to Cephas,” i:tuvxzb1o]aka. “Peter”[/i:tuvxzb1o or “I belong to Christ.”
    13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1st Corithians 10:12-13)

    St.Peter in the period immediatly following Pentecost did play a decisive leadership role – which is precisely the “strengthening of the brethren” that the Lord was prophetically speaking of in St.Luke 22:31-32, and is the activity which fulfilled the command for St.Peter to “feed My (Christ’s) lambs (the Apostles and early disciples)” found in St.John 21:15-19. None of this, btw. at all involved St.Peter inheriting some kind of autocratic and singular authority over the Apostles that endures indefinately, or even to [i:tuvxzb1o]always[/i:tuvxzb1o] have the first place of honour and presidency – indeed even a little bit later on, it’s quite clear that St.Peter did not understand his place to be this in any sense, since it is St.James (the Brother of the Lord) and not he who presided over the early “Council of Jerusalem” and issued it’s conclusion.

    The only sense then in which it can be rightly said the Popes of old could have embodied St.Peter, is [i:tuvxzb1o]typologically[/i:tuvxzb1o] – that is to say, by being [b:tuvxzb1o]Orthodox in their confession[/b:tuvxzb1o] and being “first” amongst the brethren – and what that “firstness” amounts to in a binding sense for all Catholic Christians (as Orthodox Christianity is the authentic Catholic faith) is detailed in the Holy Canons of the Ecumenical Councils outlining the privileges of Archbishops in pan-Christian affairs (which is what the Pope is – as “Pope” and “Patriarch” are archpastoral titles and honourifics, not grander episcopal orders – the Popes of old were no more “Bishops” than the head of a small backwater diocese was a Bishop.)

    Given that there were strong confessor Popes like St.Leo, who submitted a tomos (known in the west as “St.Leo’s Tome”) for the Council of Chalcedon’s inspection and approval (which they did, after careful examination and debate over it’s content), and St.Gregory the Dialogist, and given Rome’s canonical privileges and the exalted Apostolic foundation of their local Church, Orthodox Christians of old were more than happy to recognize the Popes as being “Peter” in that sense. But then again, as St.Cyprian teaches, all Bishops are ultimatly “Peter”.

    To all of this of course more learned Roman Catholics might not have too many objections, save that they’d say something like this…

    “Oh, of course the authentic preaching of the faith is tied to St.Peter’s greatness – which is precisely why we believe the Popes are so exalted, because our Lord’s promise to ‘pray for St.Peter’ found in St.Luke’s Gospel that his faith would be firm, applies to the Popes as well; hence, their authority remains in tact, as their faith cannot fail.”

    While this reasoning is a little closer to an Orthodox way of looking at the matter, there are two problems with it…

    a) There is [b:tuvxzb1o]absolutely no logical reason[/b:tuvxzb1o] to recognize that the Lord’s prayer applies to anyone but St.Peter, despite relatively late attempts by Roman Popes to do just this – indeed the context of the Scriptures in this regard make it pretty clear the “prayer of the Lord” is in reference to St.Peter’s [i:tuvxzb1o]repentence[/i:tuvxzb1o] after he falls away, so that he can in turn fulfill his calling to strengthen his brethren after Pentecost.

    b) It is a matter of historical record that the “faith” of the Popes, and the integrity of their public confession [b:tuvxzb1o]has failed[/b:tuvxzb1o]. Pope Honorius was [b:tuvxzb1o]condemned by an Ecumenical Council[/b:tuvxzb1o] for his comprimise and flattery of the Mothelite heresy. Pope Liberius betrayed Orthodox confessors (including the great St.Athanasius), by being cowardly and agreeing to St.Athanasius’ condemnation and making a false peace with thinly veiled Arianism. In the pre-Nicean period, St.Hippolytus speaks of dire problems in the Roman Church and her Bishop, even if Roman Catholic apologists dismiss him as an “anti-Pope” (which is a totally anachronistic title to begin with, but such anchronisms are the bread and butter of Roman Catholic apologetics.) Also, the Popes were less than heroic in the face of Germanic political ambitions and “curious theology” toward the end of the first millenia (which is precisely what set the stage for the later open schism between Rome and the Catholic Church.)

    Of course, Roman apologists would go on to say that the above examples of “failures in faith” (and more could be added) somehow “don’t count”. Why? They’d probably say something like this…

    “They don’t count, because we say the Pope is only so guaranteed when he defines, with his full authority, matters pertaining to faith and morals – in other words, offering [i:tuvxzb1o]ex cathedra definitions[/i:tuvxzb1o].”

    Of course, this evasive run-a-round is an illustration of the novelty, a-historicity, and weakness of the Roman Catholic “rationale” on this topic. It also illustrates the historical comprimises made at the First Vatican Council, which gave the world “Papal Infallibility” as a dogma to begin with.

    a) It is irrelevent because the “strengthening of faith” spoken of by Christ, is just that, a strengthening of faith – Christ says nothing about hair splitting qualifications like “when speaking ex cathedra”, nor does He ever talk about “infallibility” for that matter. This has not a thing to do with what He said, so reading that into the matter is just obfuscating. It’s also a way of creating convienient qualifications to get around the obvious fact that the Roman Popes (both pre and post schism) did not always have “strong faith” or a “strong confession” (and indeed, one of them was condemned by an Ecumenical Council as a heretic.)

    b) According to many of the papal-maximalists who surrounded Pope Pius IX; the application of St.Luke 22:31-32 was unqualified. As far as they were concerned, if we all saw a white cat and the Pope said it was black, we’d have to question our sanity or ability to comprehend the obvious. Fortunately, such views were somewhat moderated by the fact that a significant part of the “council fathers” were uncomfortable with such exagerations due to their simply knowing better (but being too cowardly to stand up to Pope Pius IX and call him the distorter of truth and reactionary he in fact was), and the fact that there was a conspicuous minority who did have the courage to say this, and vehemently rejected this novelty. In light of all of this, what the Council produced was much more moderate than it could have been (though was still far in excess of what historical facts and Divine Revelation could ever allow.) However, this “moderated” definition, lacked the same exegetical strength that the more extreme view of the high “Ultramontane” Papal-maximalists had of the Popes and their power. Indeed, if you’d like an account of the sad circumstances, and outright bullying which allowed the “dogma of infallibility” to be imposed upon Latin Christians, I suggest you read the relatively brief summary written by Fr. Sergius Bulgakov entitled [i:tuvxzb1o]The Vatican Dogma[/i:tuvxzb1o] which can be read online here[/url:tuvxzb1o].

    [quote:tuvxzb1o]They no longer hold the Papacy in the same way.[/quote:tuvxzb1o]

    No, I’m afraid it’s the Latin Church which no longer understands the Papacy in the “same way” – indeed, they’ve been meddling with and increasing it’s importance up until relatively recently.

    [quote:tuvxzb1o] My reasoning is Christ chose St. Peter so we should follow Christ and choose the Church that maintains direct lineage to St. Peter.[/quote:tuvxzb1o]

    And it should be sufficiently clear by now, that this “reasoning” is [b:tuvxzb1o]highly problematic[/b:tuvxzb1o].

    [quote:tuvxzb1o]I could easily be overlooking many facts, i’d venture to say mostly to say from the Orthodox side, but if I am, could you please fill me in.[/quote:tuvxzb1o]

    Done and done.

    #5134
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    All Orthodox members are more then welcome to post as long as it stays civil and attacking is not the focus. Although I must say that we seem to show more interest to understand your faith. I can’t say the same interest has been shown to us. I’m sure you have all mastered how to respond to Petrine claims. How about trying to understand the Catholic faith? <img loading=” title=”Smile” />

    Thanks,

    ~Victor

    #5144
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Augustine,

    Thank-you very much for your post. I found myself nodding my head and saying “yep”, “exactly”, “yep” as I read through it. It’s so nice to see another person typing a big long reply…makes me feel like less of a freak! As for what Vic said, I can’t help but feel a little disillusioned. We’re invited to give apologetics for our beliefs as Orthodox…but the second we do, the second we say too much and point to much at the very real and accessible common history, we are told that we are attacking? The sad thing with this statement is that we really shouldn’t have been invited to discuss at all, because though the act was one of friendship and goodwill (and I personally appreciate it), the friends who invited just are not going to get us to believe what is clearly innovative. Regardless of arbitration, no Orthodox looking at Church history and at the Fathers will honestly say, yes, the Pope rules over the whole Church…yes, the other bishops have their authority only through the pope; yes, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father [i:372dahmz]and the Son[/i:372dahmz]. We will not say these things, not because we mean to attack your Church, but as Orthodox, we mean to defend what our Church has always taught. Our words, regardless of how good-willed or attacking, will always be seen as the latter by those who just don’t want to hear them.

    Peace,
    Ted

    #5145
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:31e6l6mv]We’re invited to give apologetics for our beliefs as Orthodox…but the second we do, the second we say too much and point to much at the very real and accessible common history, we are told that we are attacking?[/quote:31e6l6mv]

    Ted, please re-read what I said. I never said any of you were attacking. If you want to read that into it then I apologize for phrasing as such. Although I said “all Orthodox members” that statement was meant for anyone that may be inflammatory. Catholic or Orthodox alike.

    [quote:31e6l6mv]The sad thing with this statement is that we really shouldn’t have been invited to discuss at all, because though the act was one of friendship and goodwill (and I personally appreciate it), the friends who invited just are not going to get us to believe what is clearly innovative.[/quote:31e6l6mv]

    I’m disappointed to hear this from you Ted. Most of the talking has been by you guys and I clearly stated that I was doing some reading and was learning. Augustine came in kind of strong from the get go. If you want to declare a victory because you guys have longer post then the victory is yours. I’m here to learn and hopefully seek to change the tone of dialogue that has been going on from both our churches. But I’m seriously starting to question whether you guys share my hope. Ted, in the past year I have been extremely surprised to see that Orthodox share this strong enmity toward the RCC with Protestants. You were one of the few that welcomed me to chat, while getting kicked out several other chat rooms. I wasn’t even being inflammatory and mean. Just wanted to learn. If I may be even more honest, what’s up with you guys and tempers? Forgive me for stereotyping, but this has been my experience.

    [quote:31e6l6mv]Our words, regardless of how good-willed or attacking, will always be seen as the latter by those who just don’t want to hear them.[/quote:31e6l6mv]

    You haven’t been heard? Wow, you of all people have been heard loud and clear. <img loading=” title=”Neutral” />

    I’m sorry you feel this way Ted, but I’m still here to learn and to be heard. Do what you want but perhaps you imagined things would get resolved much quicker, who knows.

    ~Victor

    PS-Did my happy face not give it away that I was not intending it as strong as you took it?

    #5146
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    BTW, I am also surprised you show much confidence toward history. You did not show this confidence when chatting with me. Have I not also quoted several early church fathers?

    ~Victor

    #5147
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Vic,

    I’m sorry if I misunderstood the nature with which you made your comments, but I couldn’t help but see that you had posted a warning of not attacking to “the Orthodox members”. This “it is meant for Catholics and Orthodox alike” was only an afterthought. As for inflammatory, what exactly was inflammatory about Augustine’s post, accept for the fact that it argued against what Catholics argue for? You say Catholics seem to show more interest to understand Orthodox faith, then Orthodox show interest to understand Catholicism. I am Orthodox, and I have read, in the last year, at least a good 10 books on Catholicism, including a few Catholic catechisms—and still, I cannot understand how the Roman Catholic Church can claim certain things. I never claimed that I was done in my reading and learning. I’m doing as much of it as I can without burning myself out. Suffice it to say that I’m sure all of us believe very strongly about these things. I’ve taken notes from the books I’ve read, I’m more than happy to share the issues I find in them, but perhaps in e-mails.

    Long posts. Do you think I try to intimidate or win anything with my long posts? I don’t try to outdo or to intimidate with my long posts, and I will try to keep them shorter–but it was never a matter of trying to “win a victory”. I didn’t mean to come in here with a harsh tone. Have I offended some people? Yes, I think I have. Someone taught me a lesson in humility and he was right to do it, and he refused to speak to me. But do you think that there have not been harsh comments pointed the other way? When I first started posting on this forum, I would get replies that started “Like I said before”… and when I would apologize for what I assumed was their temper and tone, I would get an “oh, I’m not offended”. I didn’t make it an issue to come out here and argue. We all feel very strongly about our beliefs, it’s just that mine, in denying some of yours, are bound to make other people feel “attacked”. For example, despite the Patristics supporting the confession of faith being the “rock”, I keep getting the “How can you not believe Peter is the rock” question. Despite the fact that many Church Fathers have called the confession the Rock, I get branded a “Protestant” by other Catholics have I spoken to–but I’m surely not going to come in here and comment on all Catholics based on crass experiences with one or two, anymore than I would hope that people talking to me wouldn’t look at me as a shining example of Orthodoxy. I make no excuses–I am a man with passions, and yes, sometimes I do get irritated. I’m working on it. This is not intentional attack on Catholic beliefs, but yes, my beliefs will be seen, and ARE, attacks on certain beliefs that the Roman Catholics ascribe to. Do I have enmity toward Roman Catholics…no, I have plenty of friends who are Roman Catholics, both online and offline. Do I have enmity to certain teachings, and certain aspects of Roman Catholicism, yes, yes I do. It’s just the way of it. But I agree, that though we disagree, we can still carry ourselves with a sense of mutual respect….and I think that’s a challenge sometimes… on both sides. I apologize for my temper, I didn’t mean to offend or hurt anyone.

    Yes, I have been heard loud and clear. I have posted these huge posts. But how heard have I been when I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me questions like, “How are Papal decrees infallible if they overturned”? “How are popes infallible when the history of the Church tells us one has been excommunicated, many were just of the worst reputation, that one was anathematized as a heretic?”, and the many other issues that I have brought up in those long, droning, posts. Yes, you guys have been gracious and put up with it, and i appreciate it, and I will keep them short and sweet from now on (or try to anyway). I didn’t mean that I wasn’t heard in the “actual sense”. I mean, Vic, you’re sure we have all “mastered how to respond to the Petrine claims”. I mean, yeah, you put the little smiley there and it’s cute, and you’re just kidding around… but isn’t it also a little smug? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me and I’m just too sensitive, and just reading into it more than what is there.

    Finally, Vic. I didn’t come here with the lofty belief that my input would resolve anything, or that differences separating us would be resolved by me. The East and the West could not resolve things hundreds of years back, when the differences were few. Nor did I come in here to keep animosity between Catholics and Orthodox…there is plenty of that without my help. I came hear to share my beliefs, and hear what others had to say about theirs. I have tried to be as non-offensive as possible. It didnt’ always work, and I apologize for it again. As for the confidence that I didn’t have when I would chat with you…I don’t have it now either. The confidence is in the history, in that particular church father, in that particular canon, and not in myself. Like I said, these posts aren’t me trying to intimidate or “wow” anyone. These are just me typing in a “stream of consciousness”….that’s how I type, as you guys might have noticed. How i would speak.

    #5148

    To be honest, Ted, while what you post is quite valuable I often skip over much of it [b:3kanu3xu]because[/b:3kanu3xu] it is very lengthy. This may be why some of your questions have gone unanswered.

    This is not meant to be an attack, just an honest account of how I surf the web. Sometimes I just don’t feel like I have the time to sort through the numerous claims and lengthy explanations. <img loading=” title=”Sad” />

    Just some food for thought.

    #5149
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Jon,

    You’re absolutely right. They’re too long, I know. Any future posts will surely be much smaller than that. The message is coming through loud and clear. I won’t repeat what I’ve already written in longer posts, though, so if anyone feels like doing me the courtesy, perhaps they could go back and reread some of the larger posts and reply in snip-its, to some of the issues raised.

    Sorry, and it won’t happen again.

    I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

    #5151
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Ted, thank you for your response. I really do appreciate you being part of explaining your faith. After all I invited you for a reason. You explain well and with passion and you were kind to me. Please, be patient if we haven’t gotten to your questions. They are good questions and deserve an answer. But I don’t want to give you incomplete answers and I’m still doing lots of reading. Ted, I did mention in an earlier post that I would [i:22aekl35]answer in sections. [/i:22aekl35] I don’t say this to be smarmy or inflammatory but to show that I noticed that answers were due to you. It’s just alot of material.

    Thanks again Ted, and I also apologize if I hurt or offended anybody.

    ~Victor

    #5153
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:3btt3kvb]Yes, according to St.Matthew chapter 16. Yet, according to St.Matthew 18:18, this same authority was also extended to the other Apostles. IOW, while it is first promised to St.Peter, it was not limited to him.

    Thus, typologically St.Peter is “the first”, not “the unique”. [/quote:3btt3kvb]

    Is that so? Show me where the other Apostles recieve the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Unfortunately for those who don’t hold to Peter’s primacy, Peter is the ONLY Apostle given the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Now just of curiosity, how DO you explain this?

    #5156
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:2ihocdkh]All Orthodox members are more then welcome to post as long as it stays civil and attacking is not the focus. Although I must say that we seem to show more interest to understand your faith. I can’t say the same interest has been shown to us. I’m sure you have all mastered how to respond to Petrine claims. How about trying to understand the Catholic faith? <img loading=” title=”Smile” />

    Thanks,

    ~Victor[/quote:2ihocdkh]

    Well, I have to reply to this one. (And thank you Augustine for your post which as you know I feel is very good). My experience on this forum is that most RC members are less interested in learning what we believe than they are in attacking us for it. I, for instance, have been accused of not wanting unity because my idea of unity does not correspond to submission to the Pope. This doesn’t correspond at all to what you are trying to portray.

    The flip side of this is that when I don’t understand an aspect of RC theology (or very often terminology as your language is quite diferent) and ask for an explanation (thus proving that I am attempting to understand your side) I am usually met by deafening silence, and sometimes hostility. Is it perhaps that in your mind ‘understand’ = ‘agree with’ much like ‘unity’ appears to equal ‘submission’?

    How am I supposed to understand the Roman Catholic faith (not Catholic, you could at least give us the courtesy of allowing that we are Catholic when discussing things with us) if none of you are willing to explain? I have asked at least twice now why Papal supremacy matters to you and [i:2ihocdkh]nobody[/i:2ihocdkh] will answer. It is quite clear even just from your post-Schism history that said supremacy did not always exist as it does today, so I can only assume that you see some advantage to clinging to what is obviously the most devisive issue in Christendom (see the councils of Constance and Basel and the opposition to Vatican I if you don’t know what I mean) but none of you seem willing to tell me what that advantage is. This is, I feel, a legitimate question in relation to this topic, and especially in relation to any future reconciliation (which will not be a submission to the Pope on or side), but one that [i:2ihocdkh]none[/i:2ihocdkh] of you have yet seen fit to answer.

    James

    #5159
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    James, there really wasn’t any need for that. I apologized to Ted for the wait and clearly said “They are good questions and deserve an answer”. As Jon and I noted that most post are long and I also said I would answer in sections. There was no need to stir things up again.

    ~Victor

    #5160
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Continuation of Ted’s replies…….

    [quote:3llede63]You say God always worked through one man in the Old Testament. We see in the Old Testament books of His prophets, this doesn’t mean that God was necessarily working through one man. These are testimonies of His Prophets, which the Comforter spoke through. However, when the Son had incarnated, He certainly did not leave all His authorities on St. Peter, nor did He only call St. Peter. He called the Twelve, who the New Testament tells us are the foundations of the Heavenly City, the Heavenly Jerusalem (Apocalypse 21: 14). [/quote:3llede63]

    Ted, please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said “always”, I said God seems to like to work through one person. Nor did I say he left all his authorities to St. Peter either. As I’m sure you know that as Catholic we also see Christ giving the apostles the authority to bind and loose. The keys were strictly given to Peter along with the authority to bind and loose.

    [quote:3llede63] God consistenly likes going through one person when it comes to authority, you argue. How does God elevate that in the New Testament. By protecting against inflated egos and titles. He introduces collegiality. All the Apostles, all have the same authority.[/quote:3llede63]

    Forgive me if I’m not moved by your response. Perhaps you can explain how exactly [i:3llede63]collegiality[/i:3llede63] gets rid of inflated egos and titles? Even better, how about you explain how several men with inflated egos and titles is more productive and useful then just one having it? You see Ted, the Catholic system although the East wants to scream “equality”, they to struggled with one bishop trying to rise over the rest. Bishop Dioscoros had this ego and title problem you speak of by riding himself of Flavian. More of a reason for God to pick one out for himself don’t you think? <img loading=” title=”Wink” /> Especially if he saw this coming. Which I’m sure he did by giving St. Peter the keys and renaming him just like He did to others in the OT.

    [quote:3llede63]This is our Lord Who taught whoever wishes to be first, let him be last. [/quote:3llede63]

    Exactly!! More of a reason to see why the doctrine of Papal supremacy would develop. To say you don’t see any evidence of the Papal Supremacy in early times is forgive me for saying this, it’s ignorant!! I posted some quotes of fathers earlier on this post. Am I to ignore these because you guys also have some quotes? But it’s also true to say that some struggled with papal supremacy. St. Augustine was certainly one of them. But to my knowledge he never disobeyed the Pope of his time.

    [quote:3llede63]What of the Apostles, do we think that they would have taken kindly to a claim that one of them was above the other? Did the ten not rebuke the sons of Zebedee when they asked the Lord to permit them to sit on their right or left? [/quote:3llede63]

    Probably not good, but forgive me for sounding smarmy, but so what if they would not take kindly to it. Do you think the people that were not chosen to become Apostles took kindly to it? What does this prove?

    [quote:3llede63]Did St. Paul not rebuke the Corinthians for beginning conversations of who was a better Apostle or greater, Paul, Apollo or Peter? Did not the laudable St. Paul say IS CHRIST DIVIDED? Who is our cornerstone? Always has been, and always will be Christ! [/quote:3llede63]

    Yup, he certainly did. He was Justified to do so. Is this what you think we as Catholics are doing?

    ~Victor

    #5161
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Continuation to Ted’s responses….

    [quote:216a0x7m]You say that God knows us too well, and He knows the power of using one over using the college of bishops. Really? That’s interesting, Vic, and you’ll pardon me for saying it, but Orthodox theology has not changed, and it has maintained collegiality from the very beginning. However, the Roman Catholic Church’s malleability, in theology, in “development”, in masses, in innovations, certainly is a strike against the one. Realistically, the argument of the RCC that “you need the Pope to anchor the faith” is horribly compromised when you look how staunch Orthodox belief has been and how constant, DESPITE COLLEGIALITY, while the Roman Catholic Church has seen things stated and revoked, restated, and changed, Pope ruling, then Councils as Supreme (esp. after the Split Papacy, and the Three Popes), back to papal supremacy and a denouncement of past decrees. There is literally so much overturn on what past popes have said that THAT ALONE HORRIBLY COMPRIMISES CLAIMS OF INFALLIBILITY. Because a statement that is INFALLIBLE, without error, is supposed to be IRREFORMABLE. If there is reforming, and changing, TO OPPOSITE VIEWS, who is this infallible and irreformable faith? It is rather, developed, contrived, and then arrived at, under the auspices of THE ONE. You’re right, God knows us too well. He that wishes to be first, let him be last. Let no one approach with triumphalism and think he’s running the show. Let no one be SELF SEEKING, but seeking the common good, the good of the Church, that it abide in Truth.[/quote:216a0x7m]

    Yet to be seen Ted. All I have gotten is church father quotes and history. We can go toe to toe with you guys on that. About your stauch Orthodoxy, I once posed a question to you about contraceptives and you said that it was not accepted, but then you humbily continued that you were not the best source for Orthodoxy. So I asked you for a source I may go to. In my research I found that the following site [url:216a0x7m]http://www.mospat.ru/text/e_conception/id/4047.html[/url:216a0x7m]
    had this to say about contraceptives:
    [b:216a0x7m]Official Web Server of the Moscow Patriarchate[/b:216a0x7m]

    [quote:216a0x7m]XII. 3. Among the problems which need a religious and moral assessment is that of contraception. Some contraceptives have an abortive effect, interrupting artificially the life of the embryo on the very first stages of his life. Therefore, the same judgements are applicable to the use of them as to abortion. But other means, which do not involve interrupting an already conceived life, cannot be equated with abortion in the least. In defining their attitude to the non-abortive contraceptives, Christian spouses should remember that human reproduction is one of the principal purposes of the divinely established marital union (see, X. 4). The deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and is a definite sin.

    At the same time, spouses are responsible before God for the comprehensive upbringing of their children. One of the ways to be responsible for their birth is to restrain themselves from sexual relations for a time. However, Christian spouses should remember the words of St. Paul addressed to them: ‘Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency’ (1 Cor. 7:5). Clearly, spouses should make such decisions mutually on the counsel of their spiritual father. The latter should take into account, with pastoral prudence, the concrete living conditions of the couple, their age, health, degree of spiritual maturity and many other circumstances. In doing so, he should distinguish those who can hold the high demands of continence from those to whom it is not given (Mt. 19:11), taking care above all of the preservation and consolidation of the family.

    The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in its Decision of December 28, 1998, instructed the clergy serving as spiritual guides that ‘it is inadmissible to coerce or induce the flock to: refuse conjugal relations in marriage’. It also reminded the pastors of the need ‘to show special chastity and special pastoral prudence in discussing with the flock the questions involved in particular aspects of their family life’.[/quote:216a0x7m]

    This obviously allows contraceptive measures, and does not condemn them in the least. I don’t mean to go off topic but this is only to show that your stauch Orthodox Church has been silent and I do not see her combatting heresy for the last 800 years or so…. no councils condeming sola fide… nothing about the enlightenment and any of the heretical philosophies (nihlism, positivism etc) that have arisen. Is there any difinitive agreement on these New Age ways of thinking in the OC? This is only part of what I found. It seems there is also exceptions for Abortion and Patriach Kalistos has a bit to say about contraceptives. Quite frankly if I wanted to become Orthodox, I would be confused. Is this your stauch Orthodox Church Ted?

    ~Victor

    #5164
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:2jfyhvah]You say that God knows us too well, and He knows the power of using one over using the college of bishops. Really? That’s interesting, Vic, and you’ll pardon me for saying it, but Orthodox theology has not changed, and it has maintained collegiality from the very beginning. However, the Roman Catholic Church’s malleability, in theology, in “development”, in masses, in innovations, certainly is a strike against the one. Realistically, the argument of the RCC that “you need the Pope to anchor the faith” is horribly compromised when you look how staunch Orthodox belief has been and how constant, DESPITE COLLEGIALITY,[/quote:2jfyhvah]

    There is a problem here–by your own admission, the Orthodox Church hasn’t had ANY councils in at least seven hundred years–mayeb more– so of course nothing could change. You also haven’t condemned such thigns as Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, etc. in any councils. So this argument makes very little sense.

    #5166
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote:3q2ztoz5]Vic, you mention the Council of Jerusalem was St. Peter settling the matter. You say “Why was it chosen that the Gentiles should hear it from St. Peter’s mouth” (v. 7). Because God called him to it. This does not mean that God called only him to it, as God clearly says of His Apostles that ALL are to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts. 1). You do make the mistake of arguing that verse 8 is where St. Peter starts talking about the others, when he refers to “them” and that he is calling himself “us”. The “them” in this passage is the Gentiles, whom God acknowledged the sincere faith in them (like the faith of Cornelius for instance) and gave them the Holy Spirit, and God purified the hearts of the Gentiles “them”, from defilement. V. 9 He made no distinctions between us (of the circumcision, the Apostles) and them (the Gentiles), and purified their hearts by faith [We know that God is not a respector of persons, and allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike]. Peter was talking of the Gentiles, not of the remaining in the group, Vic. And those Gentiles who are purified in heart will be saved in the same manner as those faithful Jews, the first Christians. After all, WHAT WAS THE COUNCIL ABOUT? Vic, I must admit, I was a bit alarmed how you cut off v.12, “Then all the multitude kept silent;AND LISTENED TO BARNABAS AND PAUL DECLARING HOW MANY MIRALCES AND WONDERS GOD HAD WORKED THROUGH THEM AMONG THE GENTILES”. Surely the Apostles listened to Peter, but in context, surely you did not think you could just chop the passage in half and attribute to St. Peter that silence that was caused by the testimonies of Ss. Barnabas and Silas amongst the Gentiles??. The silence was obviously to hear them, the Scriptures are clear on this.[/quote:3q2ztoz5]

    Ok, I’m open to the possibility that my interpretation may be wrong here. After all, I am certainly fallible. Can you please explain why St. Peter said thru [b:3q2ztoz5]my mouth[/b:3q2ztoz5] and not [b:3q2ztoz5]our mouth[/b:3q2ztoz5]? This is weighing heavy on me and would like to know why he was excluding him from not just the Gentiles because the apostles were also present. Thanks.

    ~Victor

    #5169
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Victor,

    Firstly, sorry. I didn’t mean to stir things up, I’d just got sick of frequent comments from you guys to the effect that we aren’t interested in understanding your position when I, at least, have asked many times for clarifications and explanations that have simply been ignored. I [i:3olyy4e8]am[/i:3olyy4e8] interested in understanding your position where it differs from ours but I’m [i:3olyy4e8]not[/i:3olyy4e8] interested in agreeing with you for agreement’s sake or whitewashing our differences (which are if anything greater now than they were 1000 years ago). In any case, I apologise for my rather hasty and intemperate reply.

    On the issue of contraception that you raised, I side with the no abortifacients position you quoted, but I know many Orthodox who disagree with me there (as well as many who don’t). The point is that abortion is totally and explicitly condemned by the Orthodox Church and always has been, but the issue with non-abortifacient contraceptives is not so clear cut, with arguments both for and against. I can see nothing sinful in using barrier contraceptives within marriage as I see no real difference between that and the rhythm method which many Orthodox (and RCs) who disagree with contraceptives use. What difference is there in intent (which is surely everything) between only having sex when you know the partner is infertile by nature and preventing the sex you have when they may or may not be infertile resulting in a conception? One of the things I think that you find confusing about this is that we tend less towards dogmatising things that RCs do – if it isn’t central to the faith then we don’t make it dogma (so no Marian dogmas, for instance) and I fail to see how a moral issue on which opinion is so strongly divided can be central to the faith. I certainly don’t believe condoms are a one way ticket to damnation.

    UD,

    You wrote:

    [quote:3olyy4e8][quote:3olyy4e8]You say that God knows us too well, and He knows the power of using one over using the college of bishops. Really? That’s interesting, Vic, and you’ll pardon me for saying it, but Orthodox theology has not changed, and it has maintained collegiality from the very beginning. However, the Roman Catholic Church’s malleability, in theology, in “development”, in masses, in innovations, certainly is a strike against the one. Realistically, the argument of the RCC that “you need the Pope to anchor the faith” is horribly compromised when you look how staunch Orthodox belief has been and how constant, DESPITE COLLEGIALITY,[/quote:3olyy4e8]

    There is a problem here–by your own admission, the Orthodox Church hasn’t had ANY councils in at least seven hundred years–mayeb more– so of course nothing could change. You also haven’t condemned such thigns as Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, etc. in any councils. So this argument makes very little sense.[/quote:3olyy4e8]

    It’s strange but I haven’t seen any Orthodox Christians here saying we have had no councils at all for the last 700 years, so where are you getting your information? Wherever it is it’s wrong. We’ve had two further councils which many Orthodox consider Ecumenical (though some consider them merely Pan-Orthodox) since the 7th. We’ve also had many local synods whose decisions were accepted by the entire Church and a lot of Pan-Orthodox Councils. Just because we don’t call them Ecumenical does not mean that they are not binding on the whole Church or that they aren’t examples of collegial ecclesiastical government. You’re also wrong when you say we haven’t condemned Protestant heresies – we have. The Council of Iasi in the 17th century did (mainly their attacks on the scriptural canon) and so did a council in Jerusalem (particularly re. Calvinism). Similarly, the excesses of Lutheranism were condemned when Lutheran theologians approached us with hopes of reunification. We haven’t had to condemn as much as you have, nor so early, because we simply did not have any equivalent of the Reformation in the East. You can’t expect an orthodox council to condemn a heresy it doesn’t know about. It’s only really been since 20th century that the majority of Orthodox have come into contact with Protestants and so, yes, there are probably some aspects of their heresies that remain uncondemned, but I’m sure we’ll get round to anathematising them when they cause us problems.

    Similar issues are true of much of what Victor wrote. You must understand that we have simply not had the same problems over the last millennium as you have had. We had no Renaissance, no Enlightenment and no Reformation. You haven’t had to deal with issues such as the Old Believers, Khlysty or Unia. These reflect different historical realities, not failings on the part of either church.

    James

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